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Understanding map projections.

No world map projection is 100% accurate.

There are three major families of map projections and all have advantages and disadvantages.


As you know, the world is a sphere, like a football or a pea, but much bigger.

When we draw a map of the world, we have to “flatten” this sphere so that we can represent it on a flat surface such as paper or a computer screen.
This process of representing the spherical earth on paper is called a projection.

There are three families of map projections.

  • 1. Cylindrical projections
  • 2. Planar projections
  • 3. Conical projections


map projections for kids.


map projections for kids.


map projections for kids.

Let's use a cylindrical projection.

For the Globe Spotter animal world map we used the Robinson projection. The Robinson projection is one of the best compromises to visualise the world as a map.
Although the Robinson projection does create some distortion around the poles, it has the advantages of showing most distances, sizes and shapes accurately.
This means that the landmasses near the poles will look bigger than they are, and that the projection around the Equator is more accurate.

Robinson projection for kids world map explained.

Another advantage of this cylindrical projection is that it creates a grid of meridians and parallels that can be used as longitudes and latitudes to locate places and things on a map.


map projection for a children's world map.

A planar map is good for plotting ocean or air voyages and for showing the polar regions but the further away from the centre point, the worse the distortions will get.


map projection for kids world map.

Unlike cylindrical maps, conic map projections are generally not well-suited for mapping large areas. They are good for mapping continental and regional areas because the distortion would be too grand when mapping a large area like the world!

Shop this unique Globe Spotter kids world map.